Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, 2014’s The Babadook, made waves in the horror and indie film worlds last year and has made her highly sought-after ever since. Kent has finally settled on a new project, according to Variety, with Alice + Freda Forever, the true story of a young 19th century lesbian couple, a murder, and a subsequent local uproar and fascination.
The screenplay will be based on the non-fiction book by Alexis Coe, which was published in October 2014 and has appeared on several high-profile book lists. The book follows the budding relationship between 19-year-old Alice and 17-year-old Freda in 1892 Memphis, Tennessee. The two became engaged and Alice was prepared to disguise herself as a man in order to marry Freda outside of the public’s scrutiny. After being discovered and forbidden from seeing each other, Freda accepted the reality while a heart-broken Alice slashed the throat of her former fiancée when her love letters went unanswered. The murder resulted in the public and Alice’s loved ones citing insanity as her motivation. A jury of “the finest men in Memphis” declared her insane and had her sent to an asylum where she died mysteriously a few years later.
Jennifer Kent was my first choice from the moment I read Coe’s exceptional book. Jennifer’s debut film was one of the most accomplished I have ever seen and I’m thrilled she shares the same passion for telling this powerful, intense and unfortunately still timely story.
The Aussie director’s proven mastery of portraying the inner psyche and demons of a haunted woman in The Babadook makes her an especially fitting choice to direct Alice + Freda Forever.